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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Vedic influences are all over Indonesia

Culturally speaking Java is characterized by deep traces of Indianization that occurred long ago. From this Indianization was born a series of kingdom - Cambodia, Champa, Malay Pensisnsula, the kingdoms of Sumatara, Java and Bali and finally the Burmese and Thai kingdoms.

How Hinduism was introduced in Indonesia:

Records of foreign trade with Indonesia exist from the early AD centuries. Consequently, it was earlier thought that Hinduism was introduced to Indonesia through traders arriving from India. However, recent discoveries of Sanskrit transcriptions in places like eastern Kalimantan, a considerable distance from the international trade route, and also in western Java have given rise to a new theory that it was introduced to the Indonesian islands through rishis and their Indian and Indonesian disciples. References in Balinese literature about Pura Pucak Raung (in the Eastern Javanese district of Glenmore), where Maharishi Markandeya is said to have visited and gathered followers, further bolster this claim.

Even today at a Muslim festival - immense conical mounds of rice are carried to Mosques in Yogyakarata - a direct reference to the sacred mountain - Mount Mahameru - the abode of Hindu Gods. Beneath the unornamented throne of the Susuhunan of Surakarta - a titular Muslim prince - a tiger skin symbolizing his role as the embodiment of Lord Shiva.

Under the Gupta Dynasty - India enjoyed one of its "Golden Ages". When Chinese pilgrim Fa-hsien visited Java in 414 AD Hinduism was practiced in both islands of Java and Sumatara. The oldest Sanskrit inscription in Java dates from 414 AD is found near modern Bogor. King Purnavarman of Taruna founded the Sanjaya Dynasty. Javanese pilgrims are known to have visited India in the 9th century and who brought back India's intellectual and cultural sophistication to a land as ready to embrace and expand on philosophical ideas as the Javanese earth receives and nurtures rice seedlings. The earliest Hindu temples in Java are located on the high plateau of Dieng and Gedong Songo built in 732 - 760 CE.

Indonesia is replete with Sanskrit names like Jayakarta (Jakarta), Yogyakarta, Surakarta, Denpasar, Surbaya. Krishna/Arjuna chariot sculptures can be spotted in Jakarata and Bali. The Bahasa language of Indonesia is filled with Sanskrit words. Mount Bromo means Brahma is a sacred mountain - an active volcano in East Java. Here the Tengger Hindus of this region hold a ceremony once a year called Yadnya Kasada Ceremony. Mahameru is the hightest mountain in Java. Arjuno-Welirang Is a twin volcano in East Java. The name Arjuno is Javanese rendition of Arjuna, a hero in Mahabharata epic, while Welirang is Javanese word for sulfur. Mt. Penanggungan - An ancient Javanese text, the tantu panggelaran records how in times long past the holy Mt Mahameru was transported from India to Java, in order to hold the island in place. During the journey, however, the mountain began to break apart, pieces of it falling to earth to form a chain of volcanic peaks. The base became Mt Semeru, Java's highest mountain, while the summit, Mt Pawitra, came to rest on the plains to the south of Surabaya. Mount Tambora and the city of Bhima on the island of Sumbawa. While in In a sacred pool on the slopes of Java’s Mount Penanggungan, men often bathe beside statues of Sri and Lakshmi, the consorts of Lord Vishnu. Pustakasala - also known as Kimpulan temple is a 9th to 10th century Hindu temple located in the area of Indonesia Islamic University.

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